A university education can help set the course for your life – and can also help you decide which way to go. For current USask Arts and Science student Logan Thienes, being awarded the Ronald and Mary Dyck Memorial Award emboldened his decision to pursue a Bachelor of Arts in English degree.
But English wasn’t his first choice. Although Thienes started his degree pursuing computer sciences, which he chose based on what he thought would give him the best financial prospects after graduation, he said he felt something was missing. Those courses weren’t holding his attention, but his English courses were. “I have always been interested in reading and writing,” he explained.
Midway through his second year, he decided to make the switch and follow his heart, despite wondering if it was the right decision.
“I felt like, I started down this one path and I’m going to feel like a failure if I don’t carry it all the way through,” he said. “But my family was quite supportive.”
With support of his family and professors, Thienes made the switch. After his first full year of English, he learned about the Ronald and Mary Dyck Memorial Award and decided to apply. This $1,000 award is given annually to two students from small-town Saskatchewan who are pursuing an undergraduate degree in English. Candidates write an essay about the value of a liberal arts education – something Thienes was beginning to understand deeply as he switched his major.
“Since the Ronald and Mary Dyck Memorial Award aims for people from hometowns of less than 100,000 people, I decided to focus my essay on the importance of the liberal arts in relation to my hometown of 2,000 people,” said Thienes. “There is a lot of good that can come from growing up in a small town, but one's worldview also tends to be limited. Liberal arts education is something that can circumvent this.”
Being chosen for the award was encouraging and uplifting, further helping Thienes feel like he made the right decision to pursue his interests. The financial help was an added boost.
“It felt great to find out I was chosen for the award, especially when it is based on an essay that you write,” he said. “It means a lot to have that extra bit of financial burden removed. It just lifts everything. That creates a ripple effect, improving your mental health.”
The financial support of donors through scholarships and bursaries help students like Thienes thrive in their studies. These supports give them the encouragement they need as they unlock the knowledge and skills required to take on the world.
“I'm grateful,” said Thienes, “not just for the award itself, but for the opportunity to express my thoughts and know that they were appreciated by the award sponsors.”
Knowing there are donors and community supporters out there who believe in the importance of the humanities helps Logan feel confident as he enters his final year of his undergrad.
“Studying what you are interested in is a reward in itself.”
Your gift today creates a ripple effect of support. Make your gift online at give.usask.ca/students or call us at 306-966-5186 (toll-free 1-800-699-1907). Visit our website and read more about how your support helps students succeed.